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Hey Ho, Samba 4 Has Arrived! ClearOS Preview Coming Shortly

Posted by on in ClearFoundation

Congratulations to the Samba Team on shipping Samba 4!  

For those of you who don't know, Samba 4 not only includes the high quality file server solution that we have come to depend on for many years, but also an Active Directory** logon environment.  Yes, you will be able to start replacing those Windows Active Directory servers with a Samba 4 implementation.  For all the gory details, you can find the Samba 4 feature list here and in the release notes.

So, how does Samba 4's directory integrate with ClearOS?  Well, ClearOS uses a driver model for the accounts system (users and groups).  One of the steps that you see when you configure a ClearOS system is the account system driver selection as shown in the following screenshot:

ClearOS with Samba 4 Accounts

Once selected, ClearOS will use the driver in its normal and native way.  In the case of Samba 4, there's no synchronization going on between Samba's directory and other directories or user databases.  When Samba 4 is running, all apps and services on ClearOS query Samba Directory directly.  The current internal Samba Directory app has been tested with FTP, PPTP, Squid, SSH, and other apps and it all works great!

ClearOS Professional 6.4, which is expected to be released in the next few weeks, will include this new Samba Directory app.  Please keep in mind, we are going to be cautious with the release of the app -- it will be beta until we figure out all the gotchas.  Oh, you can expect a public preview in the next few days... stay tuned.

Home users don't need the complexity of a full blown directory: Kerberos, SIDs, Base DN, and all that other jargon should not appear anywhere in ClearOS Community Edition user interface.  In home and small office environments, we are going to keep things as simple and slim as possible.  Our plan is to release ClearOS Community with Samba 4 implemented just as it is right now -- as a solid and reliable file server.

** Trademark is the property of the respective owner. ClearCenter and ClearFoundation are not affiliated with Microsoft.


Samba 4 Beta Released (upstream)

Posted by on in ClearFoundation

Congratulations Samba Team!

The Samba Team has announced the release of Samba 4 Beta 1!  Why is this good news?  Well, Samba 4 supports Active Directory** logon protocols.  In other words, Samba 4 can act as a Microsoft Active Directory server much in the way Samba 3 can act as a domain controller (PDC).  That's a game changer.

Have no fear, ClearOS 6 was re-designed with Samba 4 in mind.  We'll be posting more information about the ClearOS Samba 4 roadmap in the near future.  For now, it's hats off to Samba!

** Marks belong to their respective owners


Migrating domains, Samba musings. part 1

Posted by on in ClearFoundation

Many who use ClearOS for home servers or gateway services may wonder why so much effort has been placed by me and John Terpstra to the improvement of the Samba services in the core of ClearOS. The reason for me writing this is not to justify or rationalize the work and effort that has already been done and that will yet take place but rather to open your mind to the potential that ClearOS has as a platform for services.

 The strength of the emerging technology capability in ClearOS is not the file services at all but rather the directory which powers the backend, and the authentication processes that occur. When your platform has this capability and does it well, you change a significant dynamic from just being a UTM, or small office server. You now have the power to authenticate, authorize, and provide access control to YOUR data, YOUR services, YOUR resources.

Now we move into possibilities of scalability, portability, inter-operability, and flexibility. The cost that must be paid for these improvements is convenience. When you implement these big business best practices you need to remove features which allow access without security. This causes heartburn for some people who just want to use ClearOS as a simple network USB drive equivalent. To these people, I apologize, there are bad guys who will exploit that and while we're not crippling the underlying software which provides this if you HAVE to have it, we will be making it more difficult to create this behaviour. If you have to have it, you will need to know more than you know about how it works and perhaps when you know more, you will choose not to do it that way. This is why UPnP is something you have to get in the forums and even though it would be trivial to add, we won't do it (not if I have anything to do with it). ClearOS is easy to use. This is its greatest strength and its greatest vulnerability.

 The goal here is to make ClearOS, a distribution tailored for <50 users, capable of doing all the things that big businesses would need. This way compliance, IT best practices, competitive services, and robust architectures are also available for small business ... and homes. Open source makes this possible. ClearOS supports you, and thanks you for your support.